Teenagers are commonly given a bad reputation for being unnecessarily angry. It is important to remember emotions are not bad or wrong. Teens’ brains are still growing. As they grow, they are still learning how to cope with their emotions in a positive way. Managing strong emotions with positive coping skills is a skill that, once learned, can benefit teens for a lifetime. Teen anger can be managed by learning some new skills.
We all know the benefits of going for a walk to clear our heads in times of stress. It is no different for teens. When teens are experiencing anger, it is a great time for them to go on a walk, run, or to the gym. Physical activity is highly beneficial to the brain. It gets the prefrontal cortex (area of the brain in charge of emotional regulation) back online so they can have calmer reasoning.
It is very beneficial to get angry feelings out of the brain and onto the page by writing them out in a journal. Go into specific detail about who you feel angry with, how angry you feel, and why you feel so angry. Then once you’ve gotten your thoughts out, rip the paper into small pieces and throw it in the garbage. Repeat as many times as necessary. Getting angry thoughts out of your brain and onto the page helps the emotional roller coaster pass by without hurting someone with words or actions in the heat of the moment.
Focusing on breathing slows down the heart rate and calms the body. When anger comes up, focus on inhaling through the nose, then have an even longer exhale through the mouth. Box Breathing is another beneficial breathing technique which is: breathe in through your nose for a count of four, then hold your breath for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four, then hold for a count of four.
When feelings of anger arise, they can manifest into destructive or productive actions. Managing emotions, such as anger, is a skill to continuously practice and build upon. Strong feelings, even for teenagers, pass like waves eventually. Using these anger management techniques over time will help to skillfully navigate the waves of life.